Inside: Feeling stuck is not fun! Use these 40 interesting ideas and practical resources to take action and get unstuck. This post contains referral links.
I launched excitedly into chatting about and writing this post. And then I got stuck. There are moments I wish I didn’t have to actually live what I teach. But it was here, feeling stuck, that some eye-opening revelations opened up me and the very cool thing is that no matter where we’re at on the journey, there is always so much more to learn.
Feeling stuck might actually be a happy thing
One of the things that struck me this week was just how intense of a shift in emotional energy I experience throughout the month. The first part, waxing moon onward, I feel confident and creative, ready to engage, uber productive.
The second half I turn inward and wrestle and question and do the work of deepening roots and shedding what no longer serves. (Practicing Seasonal Living/Cycle Awareness made a huge positive impact for me in feeling more stable and building a soul-honouring and sustainable way of being in the world.)
Feeling stuck might be a time of being called to rest and reflection. A time of being hidden before stepping out into the light; a time of putting down roots so you can bear fruit in time.
This week, instead of writing or focusing on productivity, I made space for rest, self-care, and connection. I got back into the pool, the first time in years, and it felt a little like coming home. I had some hard conversations and connected with my inner circle. I made real food, hugged my youngest daughter plenty, and took her and her friends to The Black Panther movie. I laid on the couch reading Waking up in Winter, a perfect fit for the season I’m in.
Feeling stuck can be an opportunity to be still, tune out the noise, and listen in to what you most want and need before stepping out into purposeful action once again.
I realized this week that instead of waiting for a book deal “someday” I’m going to write something else that has been percolating. Joyful Mediocrity: reflections on living seasonally, learning to love myself, and making peace with messy. Or something like that. I’m doing this for me – because I want to play and create. And words are my playground and also the way that I grow, heal and become.
Feeling stuck, like boredom, can be the birthplace of creativity.
reignite your creativity + map out your goals seasonally
Stop trying to measure up, keep up, or conform to someone else’s mold. Work with your unique wiring and move at the pace of your nervous system in every season.
And it occurred to me this week that often when I commit to a project for the benefit of other people (even a blog post), I experience intense resistance. I am a deep questioner that leans over into rebel territory and I need to be fully awake to how this operates in my life.
Feeling stuck can be a signal that you’re listening in enough to realize you are being called into deeper self-awareness, toward growth or shedding what no longer serves.
Feeling stuck then might be as beautiful a part of life as the times of flow and productivity. It’s a happy thing.
Feeling stuck is a call to the messy inner work
Beneficial or not, feeling stuck is uncomfortable and you don’t want to stay there forever.
If you’re feeling stuck, you have work to do. You’re being called to wake up and pay attention.
Because living awake and aware and doing the hard inner work feels messy and uncomfortable, scary even, many people choose, instead, to run or numb. I’ve done my time. Yet resisting the process sucks you in deeper and keeps you stuck longer.
The only way over to purpose, health, and joy is into the muck and through.
Choosing to get unstuck will lead you down the path of honesty into the messy middle of inner work where you shed what no longer serves and build new habits and mindsets and that will you bring you up onto the other shore of alignment and purposeful action. Safe and sound.
Until the next time.
Whether you want to slow down and simplify, launch a heart-centered business or learn to love yourself well, break up with wine or begin to nourish yourself like you matter, stop letting your thoughts control you or risk asking for the help you need,
I’ve jotted down 30 questions you can use for reflection as you walk through this process (these questions are different from the printable of 30 ways to take action when feeling stressed or stuck that I offer at the end of this post!)
DOWNLOAD: Reflection questions to help you get unstuck.
10 ways you can take action to get unstuck
Now you know that I believe that feeling stuck is actually a happy thing and that the only way to get unstuck is through the messy inner work. But don’t worry; I’m not leaving you hanging here.
I’d like to now offer you 10 ways that you can do this work – the work of finding your way over to alignment and purposeful action, along with a boat-load of resources that have served me well.
Each of the following action steps require a little digging in and potentially a learning curve. Don’t get discouraged. Pick one area to focus on each week or even each month and remember, slow and steady is my favorite speed.
1. Live Seasonally
Notice your physical and emotional energy highs and lows throughout the day and month, track your menstrual cycle, begin eating more seasonally, pay attention to when grief or sadness arise or when anxiety spikes in the year for you. Awareness can then lead to positive action and ordering your life in alignment with your wiring as much as possible.
Living seasonally means letting go of attachment to constant productivity, life always feeling linear or never veering off course, permission to rest, realizing that rest, reflection, dreaming, wandering are as much a part of a joyful life as checking boxes on a to-do list. This is where the inner work happens. The putting down roots. The anchoring.
CONSIDER: learn how to practice cycle awareness and seasonal living so that you understand how daily, monthly, yearly or lifetime cycles impact energy and mood. Determine what emotional season you’re in and try my Seasonal Mindfulness Journals.
2. Watch your mouth!
I believe words have the power to build up or destroy and they definitely influence your ability to get unstuck. One of the ways to recognize, promote, and sustain optimism, hope, and joy and combat depression (a major reason for feeling stuck) is to intentionally fill your thoughts with positive self-talk (source). Motivational self-talk can enhance self-confidence, reduce cognitive anxiety, and lead to better coping skills (source 1, 2). Note that self-talk can be expressed internally or out loud.
So how do you speak to and about yourself; what kind of music, media or language is permitted in your life and home and is it serving you? Do you struggle with fairly constant negativity and complaining? Choose your words on purpose.
CONSIDER: Consider creating a No-Bullying Rule for how you speak to and about yourself. This will require a one-time genuine commitment but also daily (or hourly) practice.
3. Get clear on your primary values
I believe in values-based spending and aligning all my habits and goals to my highest values. If you aren’t clear on your core values you’ll likely drift or get pulled to and fro by changing fads and sparkly ideas. A lot of unrest comes from watching what others are up to but when you get clear on what you actually care about most of all, this helps you put blinders on. Most people live asleep or follow the crowd, media, or family patterning but we can do the work to break old patterns and live conscious of our goals and values.
CONSIDER: The Life Visioning Resources can help you not only get clear about core values but learn a process for ensuring you’re building and living an intentional, values-aligned, soul-honouring life.
4. Build a healthy mindset
Challenge the fear, perfectionism, comparison, or stories of not being good enough by learning to shift your thoughts and rewire a lifetime of storytelling and thought patterns. 40% of happiness is controlled by your thoughts and action so you need to train your brain to be happier. Building a healthier relationship to stress can also go a long way to helping you live with purpose, health, and joy.
Living mindfully leads to increased engagement, hope, optimism, resiliency, self-efficacy, which then leads to increased success at work. A positive and engaged brain is 31% more productive, 3x more creative, and 10x more engaged (source). Scan the world for beauty NOW so you don’t miss it tomorrow.
CONSIDER: Three books I recommend include The How of Happiness, The Future of Happiness, and The Upside of Stress. Gratitude and recognizing what we do well each day rather than only where we struggle or “fail” is important – this post will offer a simple but powerful daily practice that has made a big difference in my life.
It’s not the daily increase, but the decrease. Hack away at the unessential.Bruce Lee
5. Figure out what you need to let go of
Track your time, your spending, your eating habits, etc. to get clear on where you waste time, numb out, or escape from the deep work so you can get unstuck and gain momentum. If you want to get unstuck you first need to ditch all the noise so you can hear yourself think: ensure you have some screen-free time in your day, take an honest look at who you’ve allowed into your inner circle and if they are supporting you in a life of purpose, health and joy. Declutter: stuff, commitments, distractions, reduce decision fatigue, etc.
CONSIDER: At least quarterly I journal all the ways I need or want to simplify, declutter, and release to allow for more breathing room and to eliminate distraction from my core values and highest priorities. I guide you in my process in this Life Visioning Course.
6. Become a student of yourself
All of the steps up to this point will help you in deepening self-awareness. But this is an opportunity to go deeper into self-awareness by exploring personality, and/or how to meet and befriend your True Self (different from your personality), and getting clear on your triggers and motivations, why the same resistance keeps following you around through life, what actually makes you happy (ex. stop pretending to be someone you’re not). We can feel frustrated or resentful of other people or the world for not supporting us when we haven’t done the work to support ourselves first by getting clear on what we most need or want.
Get honest about your addictions, your fears, your dreams: freedom and clarity live here. We all have blind spots and you may want mind-body support for this work or to join a brave and compassionate community of others doing this work.
CONSIDER If you want to dive into the Enneagram, I recommend The Wisdom of the Enneagram. Learn about the trait of Sensory Processing Sensitivity (HSP) in this post or a course by sensitivity expert, Julie Bjelland. If you’re an introvert I recommend this book and if you’re curious about why you respond the way you do to inner and outer expectations, take this quiz.
7. Make physical and emotional space in your life for that which you desire
Now that you’ve let go of distractions and clutter (no.5) you must physically, emotionally, energetically make space in your life, heart, and calendar for the people, projects, or habits that you desire. If you say you want it then I challenge you to show yourself where it will fit into your weekly rhythm. Want a new life partner – where in your calendar have you made space for socializing or having fun? Want to attract new clients – where in your busy calendar is there room to invite them in? Shiny new objects will flit along trying to distract you – don’t let them.
CONSIDER: The Being Boss Chalkboard Method helped me embrace this idea of making space for what I say I want more of in my business; these books have also been fabulous encouragement: Breathing room, Essentialism; print out a paper weekly calendar with time increments and time-block your priorities (you’ll find a weekly rhythm in this pack) and self-care (you’ll find a self-care checklist here).
8. Imagine your ideal day – what would It look, sound, feel like?
We all want different things, and we all want and need different things depending on the season(s) we’re in. What do you want and need?
Think about how you want to feel as you move through your days. Engage all your senses and allow yourself to truth-tell even if you have no idea HOW you’d bring this to fruition.
Spend some time envisioning the precise details of how you’d like to spend your days: what would you eat, what would you wear, how would you feel in your body, where would you live, how would you spend your time and with whom, what type of work and play do you envision? If it feels helpful, create a vision board on Pinterest or on a bulletin board and add to it over time. Sometimes we need to grow into our dreams.
This is an opportunity to get honest about what you desire but also to recognize elements of this ideal day that you can pull into your current life instead of waiting for “perfect.” Often we’re closer to the truth of what we want than we realize because we’re so focused on the lack in our life or stuck comparing our messy and beautiful life to others.
Fill out a Wheel of Life worksheet to help you see where you are and where you want to be. This is part of stepping back to get the overall feeling or vision of what you desire… then you come back in and take action on the details.
CONSIDER: Whether you’re navigating a hard life transition and need to re-orient and find your footing, you’re finally releasing trying to keep up and measure up, or you’re committed to honouring your wiring and your values in a noisy world, my Life Visioning Process will help you come home to yourself and craft an honest and joyful vision for your brave and beautiful life.
9. Build resilience and competency by taking small, imperfect action every single day
The only way I was able to launch my heart-centered business was by taking imperfect, daily action. The way I show up to relationships, learned a new language as an adult, healed after major surgery … step by imperfect step. Don’t let your inner critic and her henchmen fear, comparison, and shame keep you stuck. Let go of your all or nothing attitude and embrace imperfection.
“The biggest decisions that we face in life are almost never isolated moments; rather, they are shaped by a series of micro-decisions that we have made over time, whether consciously or unconsciously” (source). Pay attention to your self-talk and all the ways you hold yourself back because you’re afraid of what others might think or that you’re not good enough. Here’s a simple but powerful truth: you don’t actually have to keep up or measure up to anyone else.
CONSIDER: I’ve created for you a list of 30 ways to practice imperfect action when feeling stressed or stuck. Download that here.
10. Set clear, precise goals for the next 90 days and see what happens
There are diverse ways to approach goal setting but I believe each of your goals should align with how you want to feel and your primary values. Goal setting is just one more mindless activity though if you aren’t super clear on why each goal matters. It is helpful to hold the long-term vision loosely and focus on shorter-term goals; setting 90-day goals seem to be effective in many cases. But whatever system you use, just start. What’s most important is tracking and/or checking in with your goals regularly.
In addition, setting yourself up for success with systems, purposeful rhythms and routines will help you stay focused and make progress. Depending on your goals, this might mean decluttering your environment to remove distraction, setting out your workout clothes before you head to bed, packing your lunch and setting up your French Press each evening so they’re grab and go in the morning, or setting up automated savings.
CONSIDER: My Purposeful Printable Pack includes habit trackers, short-term goal setting worksheets, and more to help you live less on autopilot and more on purpose.
It’s human to experience ebb and flow in life: seasons of transition and even uncertainty; tilting between self-confidence and self-doubt; new birth and inevitable letting go; shifting levels of energy or productivity; changes in what you desire for your life.
If you’re feeling a little stuck right now or in a hard season of transition, be patient with yourself and the process as you do the hard inner work. I invite you to experiment with the ideas I’ve provided in this post to help you get unstuck and return to feeling engaged and in alignment once more.
feel calmer in your body + mind
Being perpetually calm isn’t the goal – life is messy. But when you feel stressed or anxious, you can pull out this list and try one of the 30 ideas to shift yourself back into a calmer and more empowered state.